tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 2, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent the vote originally scheduled for today at 4:00 be delayed until 4:10 p.m., and notwithstanding rule 22, following the vote on cloture in calendar number 1069, burrows, the senate proceed to vote on cloture on calendar number 1067, lopez. further, if cloture is invoked on either of these nominations, at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, december 3, all postcloture time be considered expired and the senate proceed to vote on confirmation of the nominations in the order upon which cloture was invoked. further, that following these votes, the senate proceed to vote on cloture on the following nominations -- calendar number 1036 hale, kearney and pappert. if cloture is invoked on any of
these nominations, at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, all postcloture time be considered expired and the senate proceed to vote on confirmation of the nominations on which cloture was invoked. further, there be two minutes for debate prior to each vote and all roll call votes be ten minutes in length. further, with respect to the nominations in this agreement, that in any nomination is confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. and the president be notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: i ask unanimous consent to terminate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the coloretti nomination. mr. graham: i ask unanimous consent to yield back all time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. graham: and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? seems to be. the yeas and nays are ordered and the clerk will call the roll. vote:
who yields time? without objection, all time has been yielded back. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of shar lat a. burrows of the district of columbia to be a member of the equal employment opportunity commission. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of charlotte a. burrows of the district of columbia to be a member of the equal employment opportunity commission, shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
without objection, all time has been yielded back. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: equal employment opportunity commission, charlotte a. burrows of the district of columbia to be a member. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the -- the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, it is undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of p. david lopez of arizona to be general counsel of the equal employment opportunity commission. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of p. david lopez of arizona to be general counsel of the equal employment opportunity commission, shall be brought to
lopez of california to be general counsel. the presiding officer: for the information of the senate, with respect to the votes to confirm the coloretti and adler nominations, the motion to reconside-- the motionto reconse table and the president will be immediately note signified t senate's action. the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: last week before the thanksgiving holidays, our colleague from across the iecialtion the senior senator from new york, gave a very significant speech at the national press club. of course, senator schumer is not just the senior senator from new york. he's an important member of the democratic leadership here in the united states senate. but in that speech, he said what many on this side of the aisle have been saying for the last four years, and that is while giving a speech about the midterm elections, senator schumer stated that his party,
the democratic party, by making passage of obamacare their top priority after they won the election of 2008, they -- quote -- "blew the opportunity the american people had given them." close quote. he said they did so by -- quote -- "focusing on the wrong problem." what i think he meant and went on to say is they should have focused on the lack of jobs and the wage stagnation for hardworking middle-class families in america. as he pointed out, that broader group of the middle class represented a much larger segment of the electorate than that represented by the uninsured. i would add parenthetically that we know the best laid plans with the affordable care act has proven to be a failure. the "wall street journal" today
reports that between 2007 and 2013 health insurance premiums for an average middle-class american family have gone up by 24%. 24% increase between 2007 and 2013. so as we know, when the president said if you like your doctor, you can keep him, that proved not to be true. and when he said a family of four would see their premiums go down by $2,500, that ended up not being true either. and then there's this. two weeks ago, despite the overwhelming rejection the president's policies received at the polls, the president then decided to circumvent congress and take executive action on immigration, far exceeding any arguable authority that i think most lawyers would think he has. certainly while we recognize that it's within the president's
discretion to prioritize the people against whom enforcement action will be taken, there is no legal authorization for doing other things he purports to have the authority to do like issuing work permits. and then there's this. just when it seemed like the senate was beginning to work on avoiding a retroactive tax increase for millions of americans, the president threatened the veto of an important tax relief package which, as i said, had bipartisan support, including the support of the majority leader, senator reid, and senator schumer, the senior senator from new york. and he did so because it did not include every single provision that he thought it should. now, if we haven't learned before, we should know now that if you insist on absolute perfection -- in other words,
you want every, everything you want and the alternative is nothing, then most of the time you're going to get nothing. and that's what taxpayers are getting when it comes to avoiding this retroactive tax provisions in the tax, so-called tax extenders bill. well to quote our good friend from new york again, by threatening to veto this job-creating tax relief, it appears the president has once again focused on the wrong problem. and certainly is going about this in a nonproductive and unconstructive way. it's unfortunate because the president seems to be positively allergic to good-faith negotiations and genuine compromise. again, if your attitude is my way or the highway, you're going to get the highway all the time, because that's not how our democratic institutions work.
the only way things work is for us to find common ground and to compromise. but yet, the president's attitude seems, unfortunately, out of touch. he seems more interested in getting his way by any means necessary. hence, the executive action on immigration. but we know that increasingly his actions are dividing the country and they're hurting hardworking texans and american families across the nation by not just being not, not contributing to the solution, but by being a positive obstacle to bipartisan resolution of so many of these problems. now i realize that the president must think, well, it's a lot easier for me just to issue executive orders and to threaten to veto legislation from the white house, but it's not helping us solve problems that we were sent here by our constituents to solve. there is no real reason
preventing us from getting to the tax relief that i mentioned earlier that the president said he would veto. for years house and senate republicans, often with significant bipartisan support, have focused on making progrowth provisions of the tax code permanent. things like the research and development tax credit, things like accelerated depreciation, the section 179 provision, for example. and to show you how counterproductive for us to do these on a short-term basis or try to jam them through a lame-duck session, i had a farmer from texas come see me and said i'm prepared to spend and invest $200,000 on my farm if i know this tax provision is going to be the law. if it's not, i won't. to me, that's just another example of how what we do here or what we don't do here has a
negative impact on our economy and investment in job creation. now, i know that the bipartisan package proposed last week was not perfect. it would have certainly moved us in the right direction, though. it would have provided some certainty, indeed permanency for some tax provisions and certainly would have provided some temporary relief on others. but most importantly perhaps it would have actually sent a signal to our constituents that we got the message that was delivered to us on november 4 and that we are going to commit ourselves anew to try to work together to provide certainty and protect millions of americans from tax hikes that are just right around the corner and work on other constructive proposals to help solve problems that affect the middle class. but unfortunately, the president has persisted in his attitude of refusing to negotiate with congress, and it's resulting in another missed opportunity.
and ultimately, another short-term fix that will provide absolutely no long-term certainty to taxpayers struggling in the obama economy. come january, there will be a new majority in the united states senate that will make the priorities of the american people the priorities of congress. as for president obama, we can only hope that he will somehow have an epiphany and he will decide to work with us to unite the country rather than to continue to divide the country with more executive actions and his harmful "take it or leave it" approach to governing. madam president, i yield the floor.
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. begich: madam president, i wasn't intending to come down here. i was getting ready to leave to see my 12-year-old son who has just come home from school and make sure he has dinner and all the things a father would do, but i heard a speech earlier today. i just heard another one, and it's like revisionist history. it's amazing to me when i sit here and see information that they claim is information to come out that really when you listen carefully, it's really
more of the same, that people -- and i agree with my colleague who was just here -- that people want something different as the new congress comes here. i will not be here, as you know, madam president, but that doesn't mean i'm not going to be a participant in my community and also making comments when i hear things, and also being involved. but what i heard was they're going to finally get to economic development, improving the economy. the two that spoke today that i heard actually were here in 2009 when i came in. it was before you came in but not me. a few years later you came in. in 2009, people may have forgotten where this economy was. the economy and stock market was in dismal shape. it was around, i think, 6500, 6800, somewhere in that range.
unemployment, 10%. and the pundits, the economists all said growing. 700,000 jobs lost per month. two of the three largest u.s. automobile companies basically on their back and about to go bankrupt. new housing starts didn't exist. prices of homes across the country were crashing. consumer confidence was at the lowest one i've ever seen in i don't know how many years. the deficit was annually about $1.4 trillion. i know what happens these days, because i've experienced it for the last several years. it's news by the minute. what happens today, in this moment, this time, one-liners, and they're very synchronized today -- i can tell -- was that the economy was bad and still bad and the bright spot's around the corner. actually you have to look at where we are today six years later.
the stock market, 17000-plus. what does that mean? for people who have retirement accounts like 401(k)s or 529's putting money aside for their kids' education, their value came back. for my home state which receives a benefit called the permanent fund check, we invest in the stock market with oil revenues we put aside constitutionally and it goes in the permanent fund and a check is issued once a year, guess what? that check this year, double from last year. why is that? because it works on a five-year average, going backwards they took the 2009 year off, a very bad year. so what happened to the permanent fund check? it doubled this year and the last, which meant people got that money in their pocket and they spent it in the economy to grow the economy. where are we today on unemployment? 5.8% nationally. a 15% drop.
g.m., ford, chrysler have added 500,000 jobs since mid2009. i know again, today was like revisionist history. amnesia set in to some people over there. they want to re-create the news because the good news is hard to talk about because it's reality. there is a challenge still. i think, madam president, you've talked about this a great deal, and that is people are still working harder, longer, because the incomes have not gone up enough. they haven't seen it come down to them yet. but they have seen it in certain elements. housing prices are up. the one single largest investment that an individual makes in their lifetime, their housing prices are back up. gasoline prices which people put -- i don't i don't know if y colleagues fill their cars up with gas.
i do. the average price across the country i think is $2.77. in my state we're at 3.35. what does that mean? here's the statistic. i saw it today. i wrote it down. i think i got this right. because the price of oil has gone down, the gasoline price, what does this save the consumers every day? $630 million a day. that means consumers are benefiting from that. when you look at the job growth, i think we're in our 55th straight month of private-sector job growth. again, we don't have it fully dripping down to the wages yet. but first you have to right the economy that i know the voters have made a decision, before i came in the economy was a disaster. before you came in, the economy was barely recovering. but i will not sit here and listen to revisionist history.
5 consecutive -- as a matter of fact, the consumer confidence level is the highest this month since 2007. that means the consumers are finally feeling a little bit. there's still more to go. but to pretend that nothing has happened the last six years -- i can't use the words on the floor here because it would be disrespectful -- but it's just not true. it has changed. we still have more wor -- more work to bring it to every single family. in fact, the tax extender bill, the things they wouldn't have wanted to support permanently would have brought it to every single family still struggling. but i know there are tax provisions for the nascar owners, the horse racing owners. i get that. that's their issues. i understand that. but we have to be realistic. also, the deficit. think about this, madam president. when i came in 2009, the annual deficit in this country